Tell the Ducks to Just Say ‘No’

Hope the public meeting Rah-Wah (the River Walk Watershed Alliance) held at the end of March (March 21 post) produced some innovative approaches to discourage people from feeding ducks along the San Antonio River, because the spring duckling count is on the rise. 

Unable to attend Rah-Wah’s sessions, I thought  I would share my suggestion:  Feed the ducks. 

Every morning, before the ducks are sated from the continual barrage of tortillas and chips restaurant patrons thoughtlessly toss their way, employees from the San Antonio River Authority (SARA) could offer the birds feed laced with a birth control drug.

But SARA is a state agency.  Does that mean its hands are tied when it comes to providing contraceptives?  Is it restricted to promoting abstinence only?

I observed a female mallard this morning trying the just-say-no line:  “No!  No!  No!” (Well, actually it sounded more like “Waaaah!  Waaaah!  Waaah!,” but her meaning was clear.)   She repeatedly quacked her opposition as she frantically tried to escape the crazed Casanova in hot pursuit.  But selective hearing seems to come naturally to male ducks, perhaps because, as far as I can tell, they have no external ears.  They also have no fear the long arm of the law will grab them from the river to sentence them to life imprisonment without parole or a hot seat in Texas’ continually occupied electric chair.

Call the Governor or the State Board of Education for suggestions.  They are bound to know a lot about abstinence education.  After all, Texas spends $17 million annually promoting virginity in our schools.  Surely a fiscal conservative like Rick Perry would not be flushing that kind of money down the toilet.

On the other hand, Steve Blow of the Dallas Morning News observed:

Texas spends more on abstinence-only sex education than any other state – and has more teen sex than any other state.

I’d say that’s a situation worth discussing.

Texas spent $17 million last year on its just-say-no approach.  Meanwhile, federal studies reported that 52.9 percent of Texas high school students have had sex, compared with 47.8 percent nationally.

Oh well.  As I wrote at the beginning of this post, hope some great ideas emerged during the meetings or the quantity of duck poop in this watershed promises to multiply.

Update Added on March 23, 2011: River’s getting cleaner. Swimming in the future?

4 thoughts on “Tell the Ducks to Just Say ‘No’”

  1. The JustSayNo approach works as well with sex education as it did with drugs and as it does with the ducks in your story. And the corollary to higher rates of teen sex of course also match up with higher rates of teen pregnancy. This is not an inexpensive problem.


  2. There are quite a few duck recipes online, and mallard is said to be tasty if prepared correctly.

    Is anyone tracking the duck population?


    1. Maybe you are right. Rah-Wah could take the Governor-approved approach – his method of dispensing with coyotes in Austin – to the ducks. The public relations campaign could encourage taking ducks from the river to the kitchen by tapping into the trendy local food movement. It could include recipes from such websites as the one you forwarded to me earlier: Envision duck cook-offs at the Culinary Institute?

      Easiest place to find this local delicacy? As though to deliberately quack in the face of their detractors, the ducks favorite place to hang out is on the temporary concrete beach created right in front of SARA while the water level is lowered to extend the sidewalk under Alamo Street to Blue Star and Eagleland.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.